Jul 19, 2013

Has Yahoo made a poor business decision by essentially banishing tumblr adult content?

When Yahoo acquired Tumblr, one promise it made to users was that it would leave the more, shall we say...exotic sections of Tumblr alone. It may come as a surprise, but there is a lot of adult content on the interwebs, and Tumblr has its corner as well. Now Yahoo has made it all but impossible to find anything adult oriented on Tumblr, removing it from all search engine results as well as removing it from the site’s indexing.

Now I’m not trying to say adult content is a good thing or a bad thing, but does Yahoo make itself into a “nanny company” by essentially filtering what people can share and see? I understand that a company wants to project a certain image, but I can’t help wondering whether this makes Yahoo look better or worse in the eyes of most users, especially since they specifically promised not to mess with Tumblr content.

It will hurt them among those who consume such content, but I doubt it will bother those who don't. I think some users who frequented the adult sections will probably migrate to other services that aren't doing what Yahoo is doing.

It really shouldn't have shocked anybody though. Yahoo is a corporate entity, and adult content is generally looked down upon by such organizations. Once the purchase was confirmed, you had to figure that this was going to happen.

 I doubt it will hurt them, really. The people who get fired up over freedom of speech issues online and prudish censorship by companies aren’t going to be using much Yahoo has to offer anyway. Come to think of it, I couldn’t really tell you exactly what it is that Yahoo offers to users. A second rate email service, I guess. Repackaged Bing searches. A devolved Flickr. And now, what is essentially a censored tumblr. Don’t get me wrong, I think adult material should be something that one requests, not something that is pushed onto unsuspecting users. But by making part of tumblr essentially part of the dark internet, Yahoo crosses the line from protecting users from unwanted material, to picking and choosing what material they consider moral or appropriate for people. This treats all of us like children, and I’m past that point in my life. If a company can’t let me make my own decisions, then I will make a decision not to use their services.

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